Reishi & Your Health

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled cell division and abnormal cell growth in body. Cells become increasingly abnormal and occupy a greater portion of the tissue, lead to an invasion of connective tissue into blood or lymphatic system and spread to secondary sites (metastasis). Usually genes mutation lead to alternate cells structure and affect normal tissue functions. Altered cells must be amplified to generate billions of cell that contribute a cancer. As it takes time to generate these errors and cell numbers, it follows that the longer one lives, the more likely one is to get cancer. Cancer seriously lead to death, but are not always lethal. About 20-50 % Canadian deaths are contributed to cancer.
Cause Factors
There are multiple cause but lifestyle factor has a major influence. Breast and prostate cancer are very common in western countries. Cervical and stomach cancer are more prevalent in Asia. In North America, lung cancer is most common in men and breast cancer is most common in women. Major factors that cause cancer are smoking, diet, sex hormones and family history. Smoking is main cause of lung and mouth cancers and accounts for half of bladder and kidney growths. Carcinogens in the cigarettes when inhaled and is taken into bloodstream, can cause defection in genes. Food contain high fat and salt content, and alcohol, increase common risk. Vegetables, fruits, dietary fibers and Vitamin C decrease cancer risk.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms is varied from cancer to cancer. As cancer diagnosed earlier has higher chance to cure, regular check-up and perform screening examination are highly recommended. If any changes in body function, or appearance, should consult to the physicians and other health professionals.
Possible signs and symptoms of cancer are coughing (lung cancer); lumps (breast and prostate); a white patch on cervix, mouth-leukoplakia (lung and esophagus cancer); bleeding, pain, fluid draining (stomach, colon cancer).
Current Cancer Treatment
Treatment of cancer based on removal or killing of tumor cell. Nowadays, oncologist use different treatments modulate for all reasons.
Primary treatment:
  • as a principle method of treatment such as surgery or radiation.
Adjuvant treatment:
  • use in conjunction with primary method in an attempt to get rid of any micrometastasis. For example: chemotherapy.
Palliative treatment:
  • use only to improve life quality before death. For example, stop or reduce amount of pain, not intended to cure cancer.
Three common classical treatment:
  • Usually use as primary treatment, result to remove all tumor cells.
  • Approximate 90% of cures of solid malignant tumors are achieved.
  • Shortcomings: not effective against metastasis, cannot use on some vital organs that cannot be removed.
Radiation therapy:
  • Radiation such as X-ray and gamma rays damage DNA single and double strand structure, cell die by apoptotic pathway (programmed cell suicide). Usually cancer cells are more radiosensitive than normal healthy cells.
  • Used when tumors are localized as primary or adjuvant treatment.
  • Shortcomings: cannot treat metastasis, side effects
  • Treatment target to avoid irradiation of normal cells
  • new modifications:
    • 3-D images of tumors and function
    • position-emission tomography(PET)
    • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Use to treat metastasis (late cancer stages)
  • Drug use are toxic to proliferating cells, prevent cells multiply, interfere DNA replicability.
  • Induce apoptosis of cells, disrupt cell cycles
  • Different drug combinations for different cancer
  • Shortcomings: damage normal cells, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, tumor cells become resistant to drugs.

Best form of treatment is prevention and early detection. The smaller the number and less malignant the nature of cancer cells, greater probability of cure. There are screening programs for early detection of cervical, breast and colon cancer.